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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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Max: Eight Year Old Husky/Lab Recovers from Amputation
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Orange County, CA
Forum Posts: 1185
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28 November 2008 - 7:29 pm
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Hi, my name is Diane, and my dog’s name is Max (husky-lab mix, almost 8 years old).  My husband and I also have another dog, Linda (white lab), in addition to 4 cats.  Max was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his wrist more than a week ago; his left front leg was amputated on Sunday (11/23).  Max did very well from his surgery; he was standing up the same day; he was so hyper the very next day that I visited him, that the doctors made me get in his cage with him so he wouldn’t move a lot.  He seems to be recovering very well, but each day is new.  I feel a little afraid to leave him alone, so my husband and I have scheduled things so that someone will be with him 24/7 through next Tuesday.  Anyway, the point of my post is that this whole thing has been very scary, and I wasn’t really sure what the future would hold for him.  However, I came upon your website, and seeing the videos of Jerry has given me hope I haven’t had for many days.  I plan on getting a lot of information here; it is extremely helpful to me.  Thank you.

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28 November 2008 - 8:09 pm
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Dear Diane,

I am Diane also :o) Welcome to this wonderful support group here at tripawds.com  I assure you that this site will be a wonderful source of encouragement and information for you during this new chapter with Max. He sounds like he has a LOT of good energy and is healing well. It won’t be long and he will be up and running and playing again!

It’s really amazing how our tripawds adapt so quickly but I think it’s wise for you to stay with Max for these first several days to keep a close eye on him. That way you can spoil him, hand feed him and keep him comfortable so he can rest and recover.

You sound like a very caring mom; He is blessed to have you!                    blessings~ di  

The Rainbow Bridge



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28 November 2008 - 8:36 pm
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Diane, welcome to Tripawds, thank you so much for joining us here. We are so sorry you had to go through the osteosarcoma ordeal with Max, but it sounds like he is definitely on the road to healing and recovery. Congratulations! Having someone home to be with Max will really help.

Your story brings back memories for us. Two years ago, my pawrents went through the same thing with me on the Thanksgiving holiday. I was recovering from surgery the day before, and although we didn’t have a typical Turkey Day meal, we sure were thankful for my being home and making it through the surgery. As scary as the amputation was for us, we received many, many gifts in return. My cancer was the kick in the butt my humans needed to stop and smell the roses, and truly embrace each moment (just like we dogs are always trying to tell you humans!). 

I’m glad that you found our site useful; there are so many inspawrational videos and stories about our bone cancer hero dog friends, I know they’ll help you to stay pawsitive and hopeful. If there is anything we can do for you, please let us know OK? Keep us posted.

Oh, remember that this Tuesday at 5pm Pacific, we’re having a live "Ask an Oncologist" chat with my oncologist.  Hope to see you then!

 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Orange County, CA
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28 November 2008 - 10:00 pm
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Thanks Diane & Jerry for your kind words.  My husband John and I really felt like we were all alone on this; to find this website has been an absolute lifesaver. We see the photos and videos and read all the stories, and it now seems like Max’s surgery/recovery is just a "bump in the road" until he’s up and back to "normal" again.  I can’t wait to spend about a million hours and read everything I can on this website.  My whole outlook has changed, and I only found this site a few hours ago.  Thanks so much, and good luck to everyone who is currently going through (and has previously gone through) the same thing. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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29 November 2008 - 1:03 am
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maximutt said:

… I really felt like we were all alone on this; to find this website has been an absolute lifesaver.


Thanks, that means so much to my people, really. It makes the work they put into this site all worthwhile.

Best wishes for a full, speedy recovery over this little bump. We look forward to hearing all about it.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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30 November 2008 - 9:51 am
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Hi Max – welcome to our tripawd family!!! We are so happy that you found us. We feel the same way that you do about Jerry’s site – it was a life saver for us too in soooo many different ways. It has a wealth of information from a medical and recovery standpoint…it lends a helping hand when we just need to cry or someone to listen. The emotional and spiritual support that we have received is priceless!

It’s wonderful that you were able to take steps to be home with Max the first week. I was very lucky and my dad came from Ohio (I live in Virginia) to stay with Zeus and I the first 2 weeks after surgery. I was able to go to work and know that Zeus was being cared for 24/7…otherwise, I probably would have gotten fired taking off 2 weeks from work!

These first couple weeks are challenging, so brace yourself, but it gets soooo much better. Make sure Max rests as much as possible even if he wants to jump, play and run. It’s really important for their recovery for them to take this time to rest and let their body heal. They’ve been through a major surgery.

Please keep us posted – he sounds like he is on his way!

Much love,

Heather and Zeus

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

Orange County, CA
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30 November 2008 - 8:56 pm
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Heather, thanks very much.  The last couple of days were pretty challenging with Max.  Saturday he was very restless and crying a lot.  We weren’t really sure what was the matter; we just assumed he was very uncomfortable from everything that has happened.  Today (Sunday) he got a charlie horse in his left hind leg.  I don’t know why we didn’t expect something like this to happen, but we didn’t, and it was a very bad few hours this morning.  However, we got a gel heat pack and massaged him; he’s been resting comfortably for several hours now.  We called the hospital and they said we could give him his pain medication 3 times a day instead of just 2, so we did that also. 

From everything I’ve read here, it seems like the first month will be ups and downs in his recovery, so we’re just bracing ourselves for whatever happens.  Max has his next appt on Friday; I think his staples will come out, and I assume we will be given an outline of the treatment he will receive.  I think the major thing for us will be for him to just get over this surgery, and starting acting like himself again.  I’ve already ordered the RuffWear harness for him, in anticipation of when he’s up and playing again.

Again, thanks very much for your encouragement.  It really helps a lot.  And I agree:  I think you’re also very lucky to have such a great dad who comes to your house (in another state!) to watch Zeus so you could continue to go to work without worry.    

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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2 December 2008 - 1:01 am
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Max, as hard as the road to recovery can be sometimes, it really does sound like you’re on the right track. What kind of pain meds are you taking?

Your pawrents are doing everything just right, and they have a great attitude. Keep it up, and you’ll be back to your old self in no time! Meanwhile, if you have any questions or anything, we’re here for you. Good luck.

 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Orange County, CA
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3 December 2008 - 12:14 pm
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Max takes 50mg of Tramadol twice a day.  As for antibiotics for the surgery, he takes 625 mg of Clavamox, and one tablet of Pepcip AC so the Clavamox won’t upset his stomach.  He also takes Meloxicam as anti-inflammatory.  He’s tolerating all the medicine well; we’re giving it to him with bits of fried turkey from Thanksgiving.  His appetite has been pretty normal since he came home.  Mostly what he wants is to be next to either me or my husband.  I added two more vacation days, today (Wednesday) and Thursday.  Then John has Friday off and will take Max to his dr’s appt.  I think he will get his staples out that day, and we’ll be told about his future treatment protocol.  Max’s ruffwear harness should be delivered tomorrow, although I know we won’t be able to put it on him for a bit longer.  All in all, he seems to be adjusting well.  I know his sister Linda is looking forward to the day when her brother is able to play with her again; she’s pretty bored!  My husband took her to Home Depot the other day, and she was really prancing around the store because she was so happy to be out and about!

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3 December 2008 - 12:20 pm
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Keep it up Max!!! Enjoy your time with Mom and Dad – don’t you just LOVE the spoiling you get??

Let us know how it goes when the staples come out.

Paws forever pal!

Zeus

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

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3 December 2008 - 12:43 pm
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Hi Max, Diane & John,

I, also, want to welcome you to tripawds.com.  I’m sorry Max had that terrible "charley horse" in his leg that caused him so much pain, but you all sound like you’re right on top of everything that Max needs.  It’s good to hear that he is tolerating all of his meds really well and I learned a trick a while back for medicating my dogs.  I buy Oscar Mayer Braunschweiger (it comes in rolls in the lunch meat aisle at your store), or you can use regular liverwurst, but what you do is just take enough of the Braunschweiger to cover up the pill and roll it into a ball and most dogs just love the taste.  I just wasn’t sure if you had a backup plan once your turkey ran out. Again, welcome to this site.  There are so many great people here and such good advice, that you should find lots of useful information right at your fingertips.  I think you’ll be glad you bought the Ruffwear Webmaster Harness, too.

Your friends, Blazer, Kitty Kimber & Mom (Vicki)

The Rainbow Bridge



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3 December 2008 - 8:47 pm
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Oh Max, that is great to hear. You’re on a lot of meds, but it sounds like you’re handling them really well. Hopefully when you’re healed your Mom can scale them back a little.

Vicki, that is SO funny that you mentioned the Braunschweiger. Man, that is GOOD STUFF! Mom and Dad got it for me and I ate anything what was wrapped up in that. Mom and Dad thinks it stinks to high heaven, but I love it. Max, you’llprobably dig it too.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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3 December 2008 - 9:08 pm
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Well, Jerry, it sure works with my dogs.  They’ll munch their pills down like crazy when they’re rolled up in that stuff!  Laughing

Orange County, CA
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5 December 2008 - 10:56 pm
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Okay, here’s an update on Max (I hope I’m posting in the correct forum for this).  His staples came out today, and the doctor was very pleased with how the incision healed.  We didn’t have any problems with seromas (whew!).  Max starts chemotherapy tomorrow morning.  He will receive carboplatin every 3 weeks for a total of 6 treatments; so I think that will put us around April when the chemo is finished.  Then we will go in for check-ups every 2 months after that. The oncologist said the average survival time is 12 – 18 months, with 25% of dogs surviving more than 2 years.  Not exactly what we wanted to hear after the stress of the amputation, but we already knew these facts anyway.  Our hope is that once this round of chemo is finished, Max will have many, many months of uninterrupted good health before the disease takes over.  So, we will just take things one day at a time, and be extremely grateful for the time we have with him.  I will keep everyone updated on his treatments as we go along.  Once again, I can’t thank all of you enough for helping us through this time.  It’s nice to know that other people have gone through the same thing, and that things do get better, even if it seems like a long way down the road. 

And thanks for the tip on the Braunschweiger; I’m going to buy some at the store tomorrow.  I would like to attach a photo of a ramp my husband made for Max so he can get up on our bed.  He’s slept with us since he was done crate-training as a pup.  I slept on the floor with him after the surgery, but he’s very happy to be back in bed with us.  If someone could explain how to do that, it would be great.  Thanks!

 

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 December 2008 - 2:53 pm
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maximutt said:

I would like to attach a photo of a ramp my husband made 


Thanks for the update and congratulations on Max’s speedy recovery!

In our support forum you will find instructions for embedding photos in forum posts.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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